The Rise of Creative Office
Ware Malcomb Principal, Design and Nationally Recognized Thought Leader on Creative Office Design Jinger Tapia shares her thoughts on trends in creative office in an interview with GlobeSt.com. Below is an excerpt from her interview.
GlobeSt.com: You recently worked on two Montana Avenue Capital Partners adaptive re-use projects-the Station and the Landing. What was your vision for those projects?
Tapia: The goal for both projects was to turn a single tenant, defense industry user building into an exciting office building that offers flexibility for single or multi-tenant users. The architectural upgrades were deliberate and strategic in order to achieve the greatest impact. We have led several discussions with Montana Capital and JLL about the type of tenant we want to attract to the projects and the best architectural strategy to achieve these objectives. The process is the same for each project, but the solutions vary based on the existing architectural conditions of the two properties. Additionally we are also designing several other creative office projects in Los Angeles including LINQ, Hollywood 959 and 1601 Vine for JH Snyder and several possible developments in El Segundo.
GlobeSt.com: Outside of those particular projects, what are some of the major trends in office design? What are clients asking you for?
Tapia: Users are not just looking for office space to meet their real estate needs; they are looking to create aesthetic office environments, which reflect their brand, while attracting and retaining top talent. Clients are looking for collaborative spaces that provide a physical connection to the exterior, through patios and balconies. These connections need to be an extension of interior space and function to be truly successful. Whether a single building parcel or a multi-building campus, demand for quality, functional outdoor space is at an all-time high. Accordingly, both the Station and the Landing projects have fire pits and community gathering areas with a variety of seating arrangements in the outdoor area.
GlobeSt.com: How is working on adaptive reuse different from ground-up construction?
Tapia: Ground-up construction is like a block of clay. The architect molds the clay to achieve the desired form and quality of space. In adaptive reuse, you need to work with pre-determined parameters. The structure and floor-to-floor heights are defined. The exterior skin of the building already exists. The architect must work creatively within limits of existing conditions to achieve the same desired result.
GlobeSt.com: The creative office trend has spread across sectors. How has the idea of creative office evolved and where do you see it headed?
Tapia: Early on, the idea of creative office evoked an image of start-up companies with open ceilings, concrete floors, and bright colors. However, creative office is more than an aesthetic choice. It is really about the way we work and live. Employers are looking for a variety of work environments (indoor, outdoor, focused, collaborative), on-site amenities, which make their lives easier (i.e. Wi-Fi. dry cleaners, car wash services, etc.) and campus initiatives, which align with social issues (i.e. electric vehicle charging stations, nearby transportation hubs, bike sharing stations, dog-friendly campuses, recycling programs, etc.)
Today’s average consumer is more sophisticated and particular than previous generations. The demand for unique experiences (including in the workplace) is here to stay. Everything we have discussed will be defined as “office” in the future. Creative office will continue to push technology in the workplace. Architecture will respond to needs of users.
GlobeSt.com: What are some of the major challenges that you are facing in this market as a designer?
Tapia: Creating projects and spaces that age with grace can be a major challenge. There is a push to create “hip, cool spaces” to attract millenials and generate buzz. As architects, we believe there is a more significant challenge. We are creating spaces that can impact millions of people over the life or a project. The design has to be rooted in real estate fundamentals and basic tenants or architectural theory (scale, proportion, siting). The style and aesthetic choice of the day may
change, but adhering to these timeless principles will enable a project to endure beyond the latest trend.